March 23, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Shabazz Muhammad scored a team-leading 20 points as UCLA lost to Minnesota, 83-63, in a second-round NCAA Tournament game on Friday evening at the Frank Erwin Center.
Minnesota was led by Andre Hollins' 28 points, as the Golden Gophers (21-12) advanced to a third-round matchup against Florida.
Austin Hollins scored 16 points for No. 11-seed Minnesota, which earned its first win since March 2.
"My teammates believe in me, they know I can hit the shots," Andre Hollins said. "Tonight I hit the shots."
"I'm really proud of this group of kids, and I'm really indebted to them for the great season they provided," said UCLA head coach Ben Howland.
Even the conference title was dampened, however, when Jordan Adams, whom Howland described as his team's best all-around player, was lost to a broken ankle in the Pac-12 tournament.
The injury seemed to infect the entire UCLA offense and the Bruins never looked to have the fight to beat the Gophers, who delivered on their reputation as tough team molded by season-long battles in the Big Ten.
"We were obviously short-handed," Howland said. "You could see that our guys wore down physically."
Smith had faced his own pressures from Minnesota fans. The Gophers started the season 15-1, then lost 11 of their final 16 to limp into the NCAA tournament.
They found their early-season form in time to thump the Bruins. Minnesota shot 50 percent, with Andre and Austin Hollins knocking down a combined nine 3-pointers. The Gophers had seized control by halftime and never let go.
"We haven't played well in a while," Smith said. "It was good to see our guys having fun, playing the right way, sharing the basketball, taking care of the basketball."
The Bruins clearly missed Adams.
UCLA looked disjointed on offense and Muhammad his first seven shots in the first half. The freshman from Las Vegas, Nev., finished with a team-leading 20 points.
"I thought we were prepared," Muhammad said. "They came out and jumped on us early and they really played well."
UCLA also got into foul trouble when forwards Travis Wear and Tony Parker both picked up three in the first half. That robbed the Bruins of some much-needed muscle under the basket against the physical Gophers.
Austin Hollins scored 11 in the first half and his third 3-pointer pushed the Gophers to a 33-19 lead. UCLA pulled to 35-25 by halftime.
Muhammad got more involved in the second with seven quick points and UCLA pulled within five when Norman Powell made a 3-pointer. The Gophers responded with consecutive 3-pointers from Andre Hollins from opposite corners to push the lead back to 11.
Every time UCLA made a move, the Gophers found a way to push the Bruins back and were never in danger of losing the lead. UCLA's last threat came when Muhammad scored four consecutive points, including a fast-break dunk that cut the lead to eight with about nine minutes to play.
The Gophers responded with a 16-5 run - punctuated by Andre Hollins' last 3-pointer - to make it 73-54.